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Roof top Art ParkThe Roof Top Art Park debuted in 2003 at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. Do you remember when exactly? I do —  I was there with son number one.

He said, “I’m up top, Mama! Come up! Come up!”

“No can do,” I thought peering down at my round midsection — at 9 months pregnant I was impressed that I even visited the museum.

Son number two arrived that night, which is why I know exactly when the Rooftop Art Park opened. This playful visit is just one in a long series that illustrates the Minnesota Children’s Museum role in my family’s upbringing. Like many Minnesota families, I can chart my children’s growth by their mastery of skills such as blowing bubbles, shopping a grocery store, or making kimchi in the Our World Gallery.

Play at homePlaying at the Minnesota Children’s Museum meant more playing at home. The open-ended play in the galleries sparked the same kind of creativity in my dining room.

I’m just really glad I invested in a waterproof table-cloth…

Why Play is Important

Play fosters creativity.  I teach an MBA class at St. Catherine University in creativity and innovation because business requires creative thinking to solve problems like water scarcity or food spoilage. See my #MBA6410 tweets to see what goes on in that class. I’ll give you a hint:  we play, experiment, and test ideas.

A business whose only ambition is to continue doing tomorrow what they did yesterday, will wither as both its competitors and customers change around it. The central role of creativity in business survival was recognized in an IBM survey of more than 1,500 chief executive officers from 60 countries. They reported that – more than rigor, management discipline, or even vision – successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.

What Is Creativity’s Value–In Marketing, In Business? Forbes, 10/04/2010

Taking Play a Step Further

Championing the role of play and creativity in business brings me a new adventure. I’m still encouraging play, but today it’s from a new perspective as the director of content and communications at the Minnesota Children’s Museum.CJamThumb

Creativity:  Thinking of alternative ways to do something, or altering a step to change the result, displays a child’s ability to be innovative-the wave of the future. New ideas, tomorrow’s inventions, the next, big innovative thing is often sparked by an unusual and creative idea.

Play and the 7 Cs. Minnesota Children’s Museum MCM.org

In my new role, I direct the content and communication strategies of the museum as we truly engage with families in their online spaces and, of course, throughout the museum.

Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Leaders

Help me support the power of play by visiting the museum and donating to fund our amazing expansion.

Looking ahead to the next 30 years, and what living, working and contributing in the 21st century requires, we determined that constructing and developing the proficiencies and skills your child will call upon and use daily to succeed in school and in life would be our focus. There are seven proficiencies which is not a fun name so after a raise of hands we chose to call them “The 7C’s.”

These seven “tools” are consistently viewed as crucial and necessary for success in the 21st century by researchers and Fortune 500 company executives. And amazingly so, these tools begin to surface in early childhood and are first developed through play!

Play and the 7 Cs. Minnesota Children’s Museum

Ice #MNWX

My nonna used to terrify me with a story of falling through thin ice on a Massachusetts’s pond. Despite growing up on figure skates, I won’t skate across a lake unless it’s been below zero for 3 weeks or more. I’m definitely risk adverse when it comes to ice.

Pea Soup and Deep Cracks

Saturday’s fog and ice on Cross Lake in Pine City was ethereal and amazing–thick, too. We spent the whole day shoveling, exploring, sluicing, and drying off. Once the snow melted, I found sea weed suspended in ice, intricate waves of cracks, and a few deep cracks. With 8 inches of ice, I felt pretty safe.

 

 

It depends on how you define, best, of course.

It’s also a great question to ask college students, which I’ll do tomorrow. (And yes, I’ll give extra credit points to anyone from class who comments on this blog, today). If I asked my students in September to find the best Tweet ever, they probably would have cited (but not in APA style) Buzzfeed or the Huffington Post:

The 19 Most Epic Tweets Ever Tweeted (Buzzfeed)

 

Here Are The 22 Coolest Tweets Ever, According To Twitter (Huffingtonpost)

 

What’s best in regard to marketing?

The Tweets above are excellent:  not too wordy, great photos, and emotionally satisfying. Both Tweets also communicate the Tweeters’ personal brands. But the Tweets on the HuffPost and Twitter lists were not selected for their branding, but for the powerful way they communicated to fellow Tweeters. However, my favorite brand Tweet is on Twitter’s list. Oreo tells the best brand story and demonstrates marketing agility with this famous Tweet:

 

For marketing expertise using Twitter, my students should be turning to business sources such as Adweek and Mashable.com.

Hint, hint, here are two good lists:

Here Are the Finalists for the Year’s Best Brands on Twitter, Vine and Everywhere Else Shorty Awards contenders span all of social media (Adweek)

 

The 10 Best Marketing Tweets I’ve Ever Seen (Melanie Curtin via LinkedIn)

My favorite on the list is the faux feud between Old Spice and Taco Bell. These are two brands that understand Twitter is about conversing with fans vs. shouting at them.

Taco Bell and Old Spiceoldspice and tacobell

Taco Bell and Old Spice are well known in the world of tweet-marketing, not only for their own individual brilliance, but the bright light of their combined ingenuity. This exchange, for example, should win some kind of joint prize:

 

Travel = Museums

IMG_4549When I was 16 I wanted to see the Mona Lisa, in person. Travel means art museums. At home, like many people, I forget what’s in my backyard. Thankfully the Minneapolis Institute of Arts just send me a few emails reminding me of their new exhibit, Italian Style:  Fashion Since 1945.

Fantastic marketers, the MIA employs direct marketing via email and social media, such as their Facebook page and videos, to remind art lovers to visit. Getting there is only part of the marketing journey; consider the brochures, catalogs, and signage one encounters at a museum, as well. In fact, I have rather large box of postcards from museums I’ve visited all over the world.

Art in Your Backyard

Yesterday, I took my marketing communications students to the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery yesterday to understand the role of artists statements as supplemental media. In preparation, they read two different perspectives on this type of writing:

And then wrote their own about Adé Bethune: The Power of One Person and the Great Mother of Islam.

The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery is free and open every day. Plan your visit, soon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Sara Geneva Noreau Kerr:

What’s your perspective on how we watch “television” today?

Originally posted on Hannah Kathryne:

Ten years ago you would have been told you were crazy for thinking you could watch a whole television series on the internet.

The idea of streaming movies online was fairly new if not unheard of. Netflix has been a revolutionary and their profits are living proof of that.

Creative Commons License.  Matt Perreault Creative Commons License. Matt Perreault

Fewer and fewer people actually watch TV when it is happening and it is moving over to digital media.People are busier than ever and the ability to take your work home with you only takes away from the typical time american families used to spend sitting by the television.

Satellite and cable companies are fading away, because you can choose what you want to watch when you want to watch for a lower price. You don’t need special equipment to watch Netflix, you can use your phone, tablet, laptop, or a device that streams internet content…

View original 186 more words

2.2 million blogs devoted to raising backyard chickens

No one read My City Chickens. I have to admit, my goal in writing that blog was simply to document the process. I wasn’t expecting readers. However, IMG_0201I discovered that photographing chickens amused my friends and a few thousand other people in the Year of the Daily Chicken Photo. Now defunct, The Daily Chicken became a small obsession with friends who would post on my Facebook page when I was late posting a photo.

Dolly, Cupcake and Blackbird still populate my backyard (and occasionally Vine) even if their cyber stardom faded.

What’s the relationship between my chickens and customer centricity?

This hobby blog exemplifies the key points I’m presenting today at Minnesota Women in Marketing Communication‘s November luncheon:  20×20: Blogging to Grow Your Business:

  1. Discover customer needs
  2. Be helpful
  3. Solve problems
  4. Play with platforms

Content Marketing Thought Leaders

For a more in-depth look at customer centricity in content marketing, follow two of my influencers:

screenshot_806

Screenshot from Barrett’s presentation

Barrett Brook‘s MIMA Summit presentation, Is Anybody Out There? Building Audiences that Care and Creating Content that Lasts. The image to the left is a screenshot from his presentation. Click on it to reach the entire deck on Slideshare.

Barrett’s slide advises marketers to understand these points about the consumers we desire to serve:

  • What is (s)he thinking?
  • What is (s)he  feeling?
  • What does (s)he hear…and from whom?
  • What does (s)he see in her/his environment?
  • What is available to purchase?
  • What does (s)he do…in public or privately?

Knowing these answers should drive your editorial, making your content something your consumers want to read, watch, or listen to.

Another perspective comes from Minnesota Blogger Conference presenter and Minnesota author, Lee Odden‘s post Making the Leap: Egocentric to Empathy in Content Marketing.

But SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing programs that are focused solely on the product/service Features and Benefits model are running their course.

The need for this transition is especially present with content marketing focused programs.  A Content Marketing: Discovery > Consumption > Sharing model means leveraging SEO, Social Media, Online PR and Email Marketing to help customers find, understand and promote company content to boost awareness, engagement and sales. But if the content topics are solely focused on what the company deems important, such as features and benefits, then there can be significant disadvantage.

Studying consumer behavior means learning how people interact, buy, use, and dispose of products. On a more intimate level, it means getting into the heads of consumers.

Videos courtesy of the Duke University Libraries Digital Collections

Would you buy television advertising? — The question of the week in Integrated Marketing Communications at St. Catherine University.

American Safety Razor: Burma Blockade Deodorant, 1950s-1960s
https://archive.org/embed/dmbb06623

Parliament
https://archive.org/embed/dmbb06803

Pillsbury Instant Mashed Potatoes
https://archive.org/embed/dmbb11605

P&G: Bonus Laundry Detergent, 1970s
https://archive.org/embed/dmbb47808

P&G Sparkle Crest Toothpaste, 1980s
https://archive.org/embed/dmbbvt00422

Coca-Cola: Fresca, 1970s
https://archive.org/embed/dmbb32908

Find more vintage commercials at adViews.

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